TORONTO, ON (December, 2017) — Barbados blossoms in 2018 with a mixture of new and transformed hotel properties, exciting events and a year focused on the country’s culinary appetite. “As Barbados remains the culinary capital of the Caribbean, we are committed to providing an elevated and extensive experience that satisfies all tastes,” said Peter Mayers, Director of Canada for Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI). “We are delighted to move forward into the new year with our culinary scene being top of mind along with a diverse mix of hotel properties, entertaining festivals and exciting elements of adventure. Barbados is the island to visit in 2018!”
Included below are just some of the exciting highlights that continue to showcase Barbados as a top destination for foodie and luxury-seeking travellers.
New Tourism Developments in 2018
The Season of Sugar and Rum Highlights Barbados’ Incredible History
From January to April, Barbados will host several experiences to showcase the island’s rich sugar and rum heritage. The 2018 season will include tours of distilleries, dinners at plantation great houses, mixology road shows, cooking classes, chocolate-making classes and educational talks. As rum plays a major factor in culinary usage, its versatility and favourable taste will be shared with visitors not only through stories, but on the plate as well. The entire island will participate in immersing visitors and enriching the culture of the birthplace of rum. Learn more about the schedule of events here.
The Re-Brand of Barbados Sailing Week Highlights The Island’s Nautical Value
From January 16-24 and celebrating its 82nd year, Barbados Sailing Week, the event formerly known as the “Mount Gay Barbados Race Series,” is a highly anticipated nautical event that sees thousands of local and international spectators. Sailors from around the world will head to Barbados for nine days of sailing competitions, rum-tastings and rejuvenation.
As Tourism Expands, Hotel Developments Emerge
Barbados is growing in its tourism developments as its culture becomes more appealing to the Canadian traveller. Canadian visitation increased 10 percent in overall stay during Q4 2017 against the same period in 2016. With more hotel options around the overall island – a variety of accommodations are increasingly important to offer. This year will showcase new, luxury-focused hotel openings as well as renovations among the popular Elegant Hotels chain:
Sandals Royal Barbados
Experience the royal treatment at Sandals Royal Barbados, the all-new, all-suite resort in the spirited St. Lawrence Gap area. The hotel features several Sandals firsts, including the first rooftop pool and bar, the first 4-lane bowling alley, the first men’s only barbershop, and two new restaurant concepts – American Tavern and Chi Asian.
This is resort brand leader Sandals Resorts International (SRI)’s second hotel on the island. Opening on 20 December 2017 in time for the winter season, all 222 rooms will be butler and concierge serviced and select top category suites, will include the additional pampering of chauffeured Rolls-Royce airport transfers.
Sea Breeze Beach Hotel
The Sea Breeze Beach Hotel is re-opening in December 2017 following a multi-million-dollar transformation. This unique, premium-branded all-inclusive resort boasts four bars and 6 dining experiences including everything from traditional Bajan fare at Mahogany Lounge and De Rum Shop Cafe, to delicious steak and sushi in Aqua Terra, to internationally focused beachfront fine-dining at Cerulean. Sea Breeze includes 44 new luxury Suites built in contemporary Caribbean style, and the property sits on a 1000 ft. stretch of white sand beach on the stunning South Coast of Barbados.
Nikki Beach Barbados
Global luxury lifestyle and hospitality brand Nikki Beach Worldwide is set to open its 14th location, Nikki Beach Barbados in Barbados’ extravagant Port Ferdinand. The property is situated on 1.4 acres of pristine beachfront is the first luxury beach club property on the island. This intimate beach-club location will consist of swim-up octagon wet bar, seven catamaran-style lounges along the ocean, beach access with oceanfront seating for up to 200 guests and more. The beach club will run along the shores of the ocean and will be elevated to ensure spectacular water views throughout the entire property. Yachts will be able to dock directly at the location and water shuttle service will be offered.
Fairmont Royal Pavilion
Fairmont Royal Pavilion recently completed an exciting renovation project designed to significantly enhance the facilities of this West Coast hotel and provide a comfortable and luxurious experience for guests. The hotel lobby and its 72 guest rooms and suites are completely transformed and offer stunning water views. A visitor favourite includes the recently renovated 3-bedroom Sea View villa which offers a dedicated butler and complimentary evening canapés. This project is followed by a restaurant renovation in summer 2018.
Elegant Hotels has acquired Treasure Beach Hotel, a four-star, 35-room property, located on Paynes Bay in the St. James. The property is now recently refurbished, repositioned and repriced, and now rebranded as Treasure Beach by Elegant Hotels.
In the last few years, Elegant Hotels have carried out extensive refurbishment on the Tamarind, featuring 104 redesigned guestrooms, the addition of a spa and relaxation space offering a range of body treatments as well as new restaurant options; the delicious 246 Bar & Restaurant and Rilaks Deck.
A full makeover was carried out on The House, another addition to the Elegant Hotels’ collection, a luxury adults-only boutique property, its 34 guest rooms, facilities and public areas were refreshed with the aim of delivering an even more superior quality experience for guests booking Barbados holidays at the resort.
Barbados’ 2018 Annual Event Lineup
There are many festivals, marathons and events in Barbados that make any time of year worthy of a visit. Visitors will be completely immersed in Bajan culture by checking out some of the events below:
Holetown Festival – February 11-18, 2018
Known as one of the Seven Magnificent Festivals of Barbados, this fun festival has showcased the Holetown region’s unique culture since 1977. From a variety of music performances such as Gospel, Classical, Tuk Band and Calypso and Folk Dancing, to The Queen of the Festival Pageant, there are many exciting features that make the festival a must-see.
Sandy Lane Gold Coast Race – March 3, 2018
Barbados’ equestrian season is popular for good reason – there are many incredible horse races on the island that stand out beyond any other Caribbean destination. The Sandy Lane Gold Coast Race is a prestigious horse race and attracts thousands of visitors each year and is incredibly fun to watch. Since its inception in 1982, international athletes have taken part in this race as the Gold Cup is one of the most sought-after awards in the equestrian world.
Speightstown Sizzlin’ – Every Last Saturday in March, 2018
The charming, north-western Speightstown is filled with life and celebrations each Saturday in March. Visitors and locals come together to enjoy freshly prepared Bajan fare while dancing the night away with incredible entertainment. while enjoying the sweet sights and sounds of the hottest in Barbadian entertainment. Visitors can watch the sun set on the west coast and enjoy the incredible views, while taking in a unique piece of Barbadian life.
Barbados Reggae Festival – April 22-29, 2018
This week-long music festival has received international acclaim, with performances from leading regional and local reggae artistes. The 2018 Reggae festival includes the Reggae Beach Party, Vintage Reggae Show and Dance, Reggae Party Cruise and the popular Reggae on the Hill which takes place at the historic Farley Hill National Park.
Soca on De Hill – July 2018
Dubbed as The World’s Greatest Soca Party, Soca on De Hill is an annual event that brings music lovers together for a day of picturesque views on Farley Hill and incredible entertainment. Guests can listen to top local and international soca artists – past acts include Lil Rick, Edwin Yearwood, Stiffy and Marzville.
Crop Over Festival – May to August 2018
The most popular festival of Barbados, this months-long celebration honours the 200-year old tradition of the end of the sugar cane season with an exciting extravaganza of live music and traditional dancing. The festival now celebrates all that is Bajan with dusk till dawn parties, arts and crafts markets and culinary-driven street fares. The final week includes the island’s most colourful and spirited celebrations. Grand Kadooment Day, the final day of the festival, sees masquerade bands making their way to Spring Garden highway with revellers dressed in decorated costumes dancing behind music trucks and moving bars.
Elan Trotman Jazz Excursion – October 4-7, 2018
Headed into its 5th year, this jazz music festival is headed by renowned contemporary jazz saxophonist, Elan Trotman, to celebrate Barbados’ musical history and diverse culture. Past performers include Grammy award-winning artists Will Downing and Norman Brown, as well as Barbados’ “Queen of Soca,” Alison Hinds. The festival on Columbus Day weekend also includes fun for golf enthusiasts with events taking place at some of Barbados’ finest golf courses, including Sandy Lane Country Club, Barbados Golf Club and Apes Hill Golf Club.
Festival of Speed – October 2018
Taking place in one of the top racing circuits in the Caribbean, Bushy Park, this one-day festival promises spectators an exciting day of circuit racing, drag racing and karting. This event is a family favourite that brings international racers such as Former Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button to take part in the activities and showcase Barbados’ love of sports.
Barbados Independent PRO Surf Festival – November 8-11, 2018
Premiere surf competitions take place in Barbados over these four days as the island one of the best surf spots in the world. The beaches along the Barbados coast of Bathsheba will brim with excitement as these high-performance events showcase the best athletes competing for the top spot. The festival also has an Independence Bikini Contest, live music, local food, arts and crafts and much more.
Run Barbados – December 7-9, 2018
Run Barbados, a marathon that began in the 1980s, is one of the oldest series of races in the Caribbean. From a 5k to a full marathon, visitors can participate in one of the hottest and most scenic runs in the world. The marathon weekend concludes with a Beach Party, filled with entertainment, food and drinks where runners, their family, friends, supporters and all the public are encouraged to come down to the Bay St. Esplanade for a good time.